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Later this year, Kelowna will likely see changes to medical marijuana bylaws.
This announcement comes according to Melanie Steppuhn, a land use planner with the City of Kelowna.
She said recently, the Ministry of Agriculture declared that medical marijuana production facilities, when licensed by Health Canada, classify as farms.
Since then, they’ve prepared a bylaw guide for local government to implement if they so choose.
This guide gives parameters for the strictest regulations possible, but not all have to be used.
Some suggestions include site parameters and setbacks, distance from schools and parks, requirements for a waste water treatment plan if the facility is large, a height maximum of 15 metres, and the requirement of a business license.
“These are guidelines; they’re not in bylaw currently,” explained Steppuhn. “What the Ministry of Agriculture is saying to local governments is, ‘If you would like to put these regulations into your bylaw, this is as stringent as you can get.’”
Each city can then choose what works for them, out of the regulations defined by the ministry.
No new bylaws have been chosen for Kelowna yet, but Steppuhn said it will be included in the 2016 work plan.
Planning will go through the summer season, and later in the year there will be advertising for text amendments to go into bylaw, she said.
To even be in consideration, medical marijuana production facilities must have a health Canada license, which so far, no business in Kelowna has.
“That precedes all of this in terms of operators’ intentions to build a medical marijuana facility,” said Steppuhn. “They need to start with the federal government; they need to start with their Health Canada licence.”